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Today β€” April 1st 2020Your RSS feeds

This is how the EU’s €100 billion corona-fund will workΒ 

By Jorge Valero

Member states will provide guarantees to raise up to €100 billion for a new temporary fund to support workers in hard-hit countries affected by coronavirus, such as Italy and Spain, according to the proposal seen by EURACTIV.com.

EU under pressure to broker online terrorist content agreement

By Samuel Stolton

The European Council and Commission are under pressure to make headway on rules to stamp out online terrorist content, the substance of which could provide a precedent for the upcoming Digital Services Act, an MEP involved with the matter told EURACTIV.

O2 TV viewership rises sharply

By Chris Dziadul

The coronavirus lock-down in the Czech Republic resulted in a 19% increase in O2 TV’s viewership last month.

Moreover, according to Anna Lenerová, the head of O2 TV content, interest in live broadcasting increased by 21%.

Much sharper increases were seen by the news channel CT24 (+346%) and adult channels (+191%).

She added that the proportion of linear (live) and recorded viewing also changed, with almost two-thirds of programmes watched live, equivalent to a 10 percentage point increase on the previous month.

Also, linear viewing was largely through the set-top box, while over half of back view viewership was via the website or a mobile app.

The free inclusion of PornHub TV also attracted great interest, with every fourth O2 TV customer watching the channel at least once, for an average of 21 minutes.

PornHub TV will remain free of charge until April 15.

O2 TV viewership rises sharply

By Chris Dziadul

The coronavirus lock-down in the Czech Republic resulted in a 19% increase in O2 TV’s viewership last month.

Moreover, according to Anna Lenerová, the head of O2 TV content, interest in live broadcasting increased by 21%.

Much sharper increases were seen by the news channel CT24 (+346%) and adult channels (+191%).

She added that the proportion of linear (live) and recorded viewing also changed, with almost two-thirds of programmes watched live, equivalent to a 10 percentage point increase on the previous month.

Also, linear viewing was largely through the set-top box, while over half of back view viewership was via the website or a mobile app.

The free inclusion of PornHub TV also attracted great interest, with every fourth O2 TV customer watching the channel at least once, for an average of 21 minutes.

PornHub TV will remain free of charge until April 15.

Romania awards frequency licences

By Chris Dziadul

The Romanian regulator ANCOM has issued mobile internet and telephony licences in the 2100 MHz band.

In a statement, it says that Orange and Vodafone have paid the Romanian lei (RON) equivalent of €30 million each to the state budget for an extension of their licences, which will now be valid from April 1, 2020 until December 31, 2031.

In the case of RCS & RDS and Telekom Romania Mobile Communications, the fee for the extension of each licence has been set as the RON equivalent of €25 million. The two operators must pay the fee by November 30, 2021, and their licences are to be subsequently extended.

ANCOM says it proposed the amount of the extension fee for the existing licences in the 2100 MHz band following a public consultation launched in December 2019. The fee amount proposed by ANCOM and adopted by the government was determined in proportion to the duration of the extension: the RON equivalent of €30 million for each of the Orange and Vodafone licences and the RON equivalent of €25 million for each of the RCS&RDS and Telekom Romania Mobile Communications licences.

ANCOM says that Orange, Telekom and Vodafone use the 2100 MHz band for the provision of UMTS/3G networks and services, whereas RCS & RDS uses this band for the provision of UMTS/3G and LTE/4G networks and services.

According to ANCOM’s latest statistical data, as of mid-2019 there were 19.6 million mobile internet connections in Romania, of which 84% were 3G and 4G, and 22.3 million active mobile telephony users.

Vectra launches online press service

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s largest cable operator Vectra has launched a new service offering customers unlimited access to over 100 online titles.

The first such service in the country, Prasa Online (‘Online Press’) is produced with the company Tidal and is available through Vectra’s website and Android and iOS mobile applications, on up to two devices both in Poland and abroad.

Prasa Online is being offered free of charge for 14 days on a trial basis to both new and existing Vectra subscribers, after which it will cost PLN19.99 (€4.39) a month with no contract.

EFSA chief: EU food safety rules ensure protection against COVID-19

By Karla JuničiΔ‡

Although coronavirus can survive on surfaces for a limited time, food safety regulations in EU member states ensure a high level of protection against contaminated food, said the chief of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Bernhard Url in an interview.

Vectra launches online press service

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s largest cable operator Vectra has launched a new service offering customers unlimited access to over 100 online titles.

The first such service in the country, Prasa Online (‘Online Press’) is produced with the company Tidal and is available through Vectra’s website and Android and iOS mobile applications, on up to two devices both in Poland and abroad.

Prasa Online is being offered free of charge for 14 days on a trial basis to both new and existing Vectra subscribers, after which it will cost PLN19.99 (€4.39) a month with no contract.

Eurogroup to discuss EU-wide unemployment reinsurance scheme

By Jorge Valero

The European Commission is planning to present to EU finance ministers next week its pan-European unemployment reinsurance scheme proposal to support the most affected countries by the coronavirus.

Dutch finance minister tells south the Netherlands is ready to help

By robin
Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra has admitted that ministers have not shown sufficient empathy towards southern European countries which are...

Sassoli shows his differences with von der Leyen over Hungary

By Georgi Gotev

European Parliament President David Sassoli has asked the European Commission to assess whether the new laws introduced in Hungary under the disguise of coronavirus emergency comply with the most important text of EU treaties, he said late on Tuesday (31 March).

E.U. Tries Gentle Diplomacy to Counter Hungary’s Crackdown on Democracy

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Benjamin Novak

European leaders were reluctant to pick a fight with Prime Minister Viktor Orban a day after he secured powers to rule by decree indefinitely.

Yesterday β€” March 31st 2020Your RSS feeds

The effects of COVID-19 on agriculture in the EU

By Gerardo Fortuna, Natasha Foote

In this special edition of the agrifood podcast, EURACTIV's agrifood team explores the impact of the recent coronavirus outbreak on EU agriculture and the bloc's main farming subsidies programme, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Huawei: Chinese government would not let us get β€˜slaughtered’ by US

By Samuel Stolton

A top official of the telecommunications giant Huawei has said that Beijing may consider counter-measures should the United States choose to impose further restrictions on exports of American equipment to be used by the Chinese firm.

Digi slams Hungarian 5G decision

By Chris Dziadul

Digi Communications has issued a strong response to the Hungarian regulator NMHH’s decision to award 5G licences to three rival operators.

In a statement, it says that it considers the decision to finalise the 5G frequency tender in a fast-track manner to be “controversial and unfair and also defying the legal action taken by Digi Communications N.V., whose participation to the auction was rejected in September 2019”.

Serghei Bulgac, CEO of Digi Communications, added: “We are deeply disappointed with the decision of the National Communications and Media Authority (NMHH) to conclude this controversial tender procedure. Digi Group has taken actions in court to request the suspension of the procedure and has not received the final verdict so far. We believe the manner in which the authority handled this tender by disregarding our legitimate requests in court contradicts the very mission of this institution which is to ensure effective competition conditions for the ultimate benefit of consumers and users.”

Digi Group says it considers that, “by discouraging competition and blocking the access of a fourth mobile operator to the spectrum, the Authority drastically reduces chances of consumers to purchase basic services at competitive prices. According to the studies on mobile internet tariffs in EU countries released by the European Commission, in 2019, Hungary was among the countries with the most expensive access to mobile data in Europe. Hungarian consumers pay much higher rates than users in developed markets such as Austria, Germany, the UK or France. It is reasonable to say that the NMHH decided to maintain the strategy of the past, by which new competitors access to the market for voice and mobile data services are prevented. Thus, unfortunately, Hungarian citizens might continue to pay the highest fees for basic mobile communications services in Europe over the next 15 years”.

“Lack of competition as well as high price levels that the public in Hungary paid over the past years put Hungary on the last place in Europe with respect to mobile internet adoption rate. A position that is likely to remain unchanged in the future. Recently, we have discovered how important modern communications means are and the way these services help us to be connected to loved ones. Yet, with astonishment we find that only 60% of consumers have access to mobile data in Hungary. Knowing that 40% of the population does not have access to mobile internet services in the existing 2G/3G/4G frequency bands, we cannot understand why the Authority chose to exclude a new operator and refused to hold up the procedure until its legal remedies are evaluated just to assign frequencies for the next 15 years in 5G spectrum bands in a fast-track manner which disregards the consumers’ interests.

“Considering the current European context, when electronic communications services are vital for large categories of the population and consumers need easy and affordable access to these services, the Authority’s decision to end this procedure briefly is contrary to the public interest”.

In these circumstances, Digi says it is “even more determined to continue the legal procedure and challenge the unfair exclusion from this auction, in the interests of consumers and the market, both entitled to receive accessible mobile communication services. The hardships we must endure and those that we will undoubtedly meet in the future, will not stop our company to continue developing mobile services and assure our customers that we will keep close to their demands, as always”.

“Taking into account the importance of a frequency auction to be conducted in a fair, transparent manner and in full compliance of the law and consumer interest, Digi Hungary now asks NMHH to cancel the auction decision and resume the procedure assuming in full its independent market arbiter role”.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, NMHH awarded 15-year 5G licences to Magyar Telekom, Telenor Hungary and Vodafone Hungary earlier this week.

Coronabond debate opens old wounds, Dutch accused of lack of solidarity

By molly
The Dutch government has been criticised by domestic politicians, MEPs, and Italian mayors and officials for its tough line on...

Polish VOD clutter approaches TV levels

By Chris Dziadul

On demand services belonging to the largest broadcasters in Poland allocated an average of 15% of their airtime to advertising in February and the first half of March.

As a result, according to a Wavemaker and GroupM analysis, clutter in VOD was already close, and in the case of Player even higher. The 15% was equivalent to an average of 9 minutes of advertising per hour, so 3 minutes below the ad limit for classic TV. The average for the VOD services Player, ipla and TVP VOD was equal to the clutter on the main TV channels, where the average is slightly reduced by TVP stations without ad interruptions. However, in the case of Player the ad time of 20% was higher than that for classic TV.

Despite the high advertising load, broadcasters’ VOD services note a high level of viewability. This applies in particular to TVP VOD, where the clutter is significantly lower than in commercial stations’ services. A Gemius AdReal study shows that the visibility of ads on all broadcasters’ VOD pages exceeds 80%.

Although the lock-down has resulted in the reach of VOD services increasing by at least 10% a week, GroupM does not believe this will translate directly into ad investment in the e-video sector.

According to Agnieszka Lizon, digital trading director at GroupM, “Budgets are melting in some categories, and their declines are not currently offset by increases in others. The resources of websites, due to their popularity, are naturally increasing, and as a result, clutter in players should decrease. So this even means improving the quality of this channel for marketers.

“As for the level of advertising expenditure in VOD, I assume an optimistic slight downward revision, i.e. from 10% predicted at the beginning of the year to 3 -4 percent compared to the level from 2019. This means that the value of the video advertising market will not exceed PLN1 billion (€220 million) for now”.

Kino Polska inks Walt Disney deal

By Chris Dziadul

The SPI International affiliate Kino Polska has signed a new content licence agreement with the Walt Disney Company.

Under it, a diversified portfolio of new movies including Hollywood-blockbusters, critically acclaimed movies and hit television series will be shown in Poland, with the vast majority of new titles being shown on the linear movie channel Stopklatka and some on Zoom TV and Kino TV.

Commenting on the development, Magdalena Blasiak, acquisitions director at SPI International, said: “Our partnership with The Walt Disney Company reflects our commitment to delivering highly-demanded, top quality content in all genres to our audiences in Poland. The new titles that we acquired through this deal, will enhance the TV viewing experience of Stopklatka, Zoom TV and Kino TV audiences”.

Anna Walczak, sales director, CEE & Africa at The Walt Disney Company, added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Kino Polska. The Walt Disney Company is committed to providing regional audiences with the most compelling content available, and to entertain audiences around the world with unparalleled storytelling,”

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